09/10/2003 11:00PM

Thistledown: Spring Cat should roll


If Spring Cat stays between the two white fences and rider Huber Villa-Gomez stays on her back, she should have little trouble making it back-to-back stakes wins and three straight victories Saturday afternoon. She will face seven other 2-year-old Ohio-bred fillies going six furlongs in the $35,000 Emerald Necklace Stakes.

Spring Cat, a daughter of Noble Cat, rallied steadily though the stretch in her last race to earn a nose decision over stakes winner Catch My Cat and four other male rivals in the six-furlong Loyalty Stakes on Aug. 16. She won her maiden here on Aug. 10 and, prior to that, finished second in a July 19 maiden race and fourth behind Catch My Cat in the Cleveland Kindergarten on July 4.

Spring Cat bled in the Kindergarten, but trainer Joseph Martin appears to have corrected the situation. She is the starting highweight at 118 pounds.

The only other winner in the field is Change of Fortune, who finished fifth, beaten 13 lengths, behind Spring Cat in the Loyalty. In her career debut, Change of Fortune was second, eight lengths behind Ding's Thing in the Tah Dah Stakes here. Russell Woolsey will ride Change of Fortune at 116 pounds for trainer Jerry Sparks.

Of the others, Switcheroo appears to have the best shot of upsetting. She will also carry 116, and Mike Rowland will ride for trainer Tim Girten.